THE LAUREL POPUP SERIES
Presented by Valerie Troutt and the Laurel District Association
by Ed Carpenter
First Saturdays Welcomes Oaklanders to the Laurel
Oakland’s Laurel District Association kicks off a new series of events May 5, the first of three First Saturdays events leading up to the popular Laurel Street Fair in August.
First Saturdays will feature a pop-up choir, art and altar making, a dance workshop, and DJs spinning tunes. Held May 5, June 2, and July 7, First Saturdays are part of a wider schedule of Saturday summer events, 15 in all, that are part of the Laurel District’s Summer of Love. The packed calendar aims to build community and raise awareness about the Laurel in Oakland and beyond, leading up to the Laurel Street Fair Saturday, August 11.
“We hope to inspire community members and Oaklanders to take part in the First Saturdays series, to get involved by volunteering, and to have fun,” said event organizer Valerie Troutt, a longtime Laurel District resident, music instructor, and vocalist for the Valerie Troutt JazzSoul Quartet.
Oaklanders of all ages are invited to explore Soul, Jazz, and other genres of music as part of a pop-up choir led by Jovan Watkins and Dana Salzman. All levels of experience are encouraged to participate, learning three easy songs to perform at the Laurel Street Fair. A dance workshop will be led by Elouise Burrell and art and altars from different cultures will be created under the guidance of Xochitl Guerrero.
Troutt, whose band performed at last year’s Laurel Street Fair, has lived in the Laurel for 22 years and became involved with the Laurel about two years ago in an effort to raise awareness beyond local residents and merchants about the Laurel Street Fair and make it a major Oakland attraction.
“I love Oakland,” said Troutt, who can often be found at her favorite haunt, Lounge 3411 on MacArthur Boulevard, listening to local DJs spin. “I think the Laurel district has a lot to offer and I see great potential for drawing more Oakland residents to the area.”
First Saturdays in the Laurel District:
* 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Pop-up Choir: directed by Jovan Watkins and pianist Dana Salzman. The choir is open to all voices (good & not so good). Come willing to laugh, sing, and learn three easy songs to present at the Laurel Street Fair on August 11.
* 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., Art Make and Take: Make art and take it home. This session will explore "altars of many cultures." Altars will be on display at the Laurel Street Fair.
* 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Dance Workshop: A dance workshops will be offered, exploring world and street dance styles.
The Laurel Summer of Love is a series of Saturday events from May to August. 1st Saturdays is the Laurel PopUp Series, 2nd Saturdays is Laurel ArtWorks Art Exhibit, 3rd Saturday is Route 50 Classic Car Cruises, 4th Saturdays is Ask a Laurel Doc, on Facebook
Find out more on Facebook: Laurel Street Fair, and Laurel District Association